eSports a gamechanger in South Africa, says Centennial Schools
Globally, the gaming industry has evolved into a fully-fledged career path, and the school is taking advantage of the growth in the sector by offering gaming scholarships.
JOHANNESBURG – Centennial Schools says its electronic sports (eSports) offering directly ties in with its ethos of reimagining today's schools for the 21st century.
The school has built what it says is the largest eSports arena in Africa.
"It offers individual gaming stations, spectator stands, and a lounge area. eSports is incorporated into our overall approach to education as it teaches students valuable skills beyond the classroom,” said the founder and CEO of the school, Shaun Fuchs.
The arena, which cost R3-million to kit out, features 30 individual gaming stations, a spectator stand, 70-inch TV screens, six Xbox motor racing stations, a lounge area to relax, and in the works is a shout-casting studio.
It also runs on one gigabyte per second fibre internet connection, with backup generators during load shedding.
“Load shedding can disrupt gameplay and online tournaments, as power outages can cause gamers to lose progress or disconnect from online matches. In addition, if gamers cannot save their progress before a power outage, they may lose valuable game data, resulting in frustration and decreased participation in online gaming,” explained Fuchs.
AN INCLUSIVE SPORT
Speaking to Eyewitness News about the impact and growth of eSports in South Africa, Fuchs said one of the things he appreciates about it is its inclusivity.
“eSports have become more inclusive than other sports, with boys and girls able to play on the same teams and participants coming from various social groups and demographics,“ said Shaun Fuchs.
Centennial Schools launched a first of its kind eSports scholarship worth R750 000 for 3x grade 6-9 students. It includes gaming equipment + Asus laptops. One of the requirements is to compete in Minecraft, Aim Lab, Overcooked and Superliminal.' Nafisa Akabor (@nafisa1) January 25, 2023
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He said gaming has also significantly impacted access for disabled children in the sporting world.
“With the advent of adaptive gaming technologies, children with disabilities can now participate in sports virtually, which was not possible before. One of the most significant ways gaming has changed access for disabled children is by providing them with an inclusive environment to participate in sports,” said Fuch on how gaming is an inclusive sport."
The CEO, however, noted that a balance always has to be struck between time spent gaming and other activities, as there are concerns that gaming can be addictive.
“For example, the eSports arena is not open or available during break times. Students are instead encouraged to socialise and be active outside with their peers and friends. A student may also not participate in eSports or gaming at the school if they have not signed up and actively participated in one of the sporting or fitness activities on offer at the school."
SCHOLARSHIP UP FOR GRABS
Research indicates that there are more than 11 million gamers in South Africa.
According to Rhodes University, in 2018, the global gaming industry consisted of 2.3 billion consumers, who spent nearly $138 billion, on games.
This is partly why Centennial Schools is investing in three young gamers, by offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the form of three scholarships to the value of R750 000.
The school says this is the first such scholarship, and eligible candidates must be South African student gamers in Grades 6 - 9.
Entries close on the 28th of February.
To learn more about their gaming scholarship click here.